Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Ergative

Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 18
Well, illumination, to be precise. I just had the pleasure of finishing J. V. Jones's The Barbed Coil, in which a young woman with an eye for patterns is pulled into a swords-and-sorcery fantasy world where her abilities mean that she is able to make magnificent carpet pages of the sort seen in the Lindisfarne Gospels, and by following the knotwork and patterns, magic happens. It is not as well-built a magic system as Triad (by Terry McGarry, which I've also recommended here on FF), but the craft of illumination is much more realistic. The author is either a calligrapher herself or has done a great deal of research. We learn about the preparation of quills, pigments, hides, gesso, how scribes copied patterns from one manuscript to another (which turns out to be a key plot point: how one secret carpet page pattern got smuggled out of a monastery, and the steps that were taken to prevent it), and, which I particularly liked, the nature of the magic allows for the fact that creating illuminations takes a great deal of time, and unfolds over hours.

It's not all lapis lazuli and glair, however. Like most swords and sorcery books, it is brutal and bloody and violent, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone younger than, say, 12. (If I were a parent, I'd probably say no one younger than 15, but I remember what I liked reading when I was a youngster, and I think a 12-year-old could handle it). But if you like swords and sorcery, and calligraphy, which I do, it's a great book, and I will most definitely be reading more by this author.

Show & Tell / Re: French Batarde written with a quill
« on: April 10, 2016, 08:54:46 PM »
I do have Johnston's book! In fact, although I do not use his special pen knife, his careful glass cutting surface, or the other precise gadgets he recommends for cutting quills (and although I cannot get good quality quills from my local stationers, as he recommends I do), it is the book I first looked at when I decided to start playing with proper quills, and it is his instructions for how to cut them, and no one else's, that I neglect to follow.

Show & Tell / Re: French Batarde written with a quill
« on: April 10, 2016, 06:53:38 PM »
Estefa, Andy, I thought that a slanted board might help, but I didn't have quite the motivation to jury-rig one. Maybe that will be next weekend's project.

Andy, by the way, you get props for posting a picture surrounding by Batarde writing!

Show & Tell / Re: French Batarde written with a quill
« on: April 09, 2016, 10:43:10 PM »

Andrew, it actually wasn't great. I didn't have as much control over line thickness unless I consciously turned the quill to use the edge for a hairline. Earlier this week, when I had cut the nib wider, the flow was actually quite dry, so the line thickness behaved well, but I wanted to use a smaller x-height, and after re-trimming the edge I lost crispness. It's quite possible that as I get better at cutting the quill, or if I do things like season it properly in an oven, rather than leaving it in a drawer for eight months, I'll find I can make the line variation obey my will, but for now it's mostly trial and error, and most of the time when I try to re-trim the quill I get splayed tines or an off-center split. Simply having a tip that mostly works is a triumph.

Randy, I can't compare a seagull quill to any others, as it's the only quill I've ever used. As for the reservoir, it certainly seems like a great idea, but in fact it was a necessity. Without it, the ink all just flooded off in a big glop. I don't think the old masters had mass-produced William-Mitchell reservoirs to stick on their nibs, so clearly they were doing something that I'm not doing. I'd really like to be able to mimic that, but for now I think writing with a quill will be a fun novelty, rather than a technique I'd turn to if I'm creating something serious.

Show & Tell / French Batarde written with a quill
« on: April 09, 2016, 07:17:42 PM »
One of my first loves of broad nibbed calligraphy was the cursive gothic scripts that proliferated during the 13-15th centuries. David Harris's book THe Art of Calligraphy has a really nice set of pages describing the differences between Bastard Secretary, an English version, and Batarde, a French version. I always quite liked the Batarde, although I was never particularly good at it (except for a brief period of a few months back in college when, shockingly, I worked hard at it and got better). The Bastard Secretary seemed to flow more naturally from my nib, while the Batarde seemed to require a certain command of hairlines that I never could get good at. Harris recommended using a quill for better expressiveness, and last summer I collected from a California beach quite a lot of seagull quills, which seemed big and sturdy. I've been hacking at them with an Exacto knife recently, and today I managed to get a nib on one that seemed to work well, especially when paired with a William Mitchell nib reservoir. Below is my attempt at Batarde.

In my case it was for a different family at my address (Apt. A instead of Apt. B), and the address had left off the Apt. # and name, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't random that the letter ended up in my box instead of their's. Also, there was an exchange going on at the time, so without a name on the envelope I assumed it was mine, opened it, and wondered, "Why am I getting this wedding invitation to these random people I've never heard of?"

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: time
« on: April 04, 2016, 01:48:56 PM »
Yeah, I can easily spend a whole day working on a project and listening to podcasts. It's so meditative.

Introductions / Re: Greetings form RU!
« on: April 04, 2016, 12:43:04 PM »
I've just looked up vyaz lettering. It looks gorgeous! I do hope you'll show us some of your work with that. I've studied Russian for many years, and I've always wanted to learn some Cyrillic calligraphy to go with it!

I got three out today. There's a fourth that I haven't got the right stamp for, but that will go out tomorrow.

I ended up writing the letter I chose so many times. At first I tried to copy the letter forms from the original, but they were so eccentric that I kept messing up and being inconsistent. And I was trying to write it completely without any guidelines or lines of any kind, just like the original. I didn't do so bad with that, but not so great either. And then I wrote out a version I thought was good, then copied it twice before I realized I had forgotten a whole section. A common mistake of the copyist!

I ended up just writing it using my regular correspondence hand. By now I could almost write it out from memory with only a few promptings. But it was fun for me at least. I make no guarantees for my readers.  ::)

I'm sure, Scarlet, that any mistakes you made will look so good they'll be taken for how it was supposed to be.

I wrote out mine many, many times. For the entire duration of the exchange, whenever I just wanted to unwind with some calligraphy I'd sit down and write another copy. And then this weekend I discovered that the paper I'd been planning to use didn't really fit nicely in any of my envelopes, so I set out to write several more copies on better fitting (but less smooth) paper. The original letter was typewritten, so I just reinterpreted how it would look if the writer had decided to use calligraphy.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Gilding and Illumination
« on: March 15, 2016, 08:07:19 AM »
I've never used Instacoll or pink stuff, but when I was at the Passionate Pen this summer I went to a wonderful gilding workshop where we mixed up our own mordant, both flat and raised, using recipes that our wonderful instructor, Judy Detrick, had recreated from recipes written down back in the middle ages and/or renaissance. And that traditional mordant flowed very well off just a regular nib. I used William Mitchell nibs, with no reservoir, and I was able to write almost normally with them, and get quite good line variation.

Broad Edge Pen Calligraphy / Re: Learning Fraktur
« on: February 24, 2016, 08:25:21 AM »
Katerina, was that at the Passionate Pen?

Tools & Supplies / Re: Italian Wood Obliques
« on: February 22, 2016, 07:54:44 AM »
Those are absolutely lovely. Thank you so much for sharing your work with us. (And your English is perfectly fine!)

Flourishing / Re: F is for Flourish!
« on: February 18, 2016, 08:36:24 AM »
Very nice! Now, I have to ask, since I know how you feel about shading and lack of control over your finished product. Did you go back later to blend in the darker red ink at the foot of the letters, or did it appear naturally as a consequence of ink flow?

Tools & Supplies / Re: Erasing on iridescent/shimmering paper
« on: February 18, 2016, 08:33:24 AM »
If they're dark grey, then pencil lines shouldn't show up too badly. I'd just pencil in the guidelines very, very lightly and set up my lamp to exactly the right angle to reflect off the lines when writing. And then just leave them. At most angles and in most lights it shouldn't be too visible.

Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 18